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Bavarian Weekend In Carrigaline

By Jim Kelly

If you ran in to German speaking tourists last weekend, some dressed in distinctive lederhosen or dirndls, the high likelihood is that they were part of a twinning visit from Carrigaline’s twin town in Germany.

40 visitors from Kirchseeon in Bavaria arrived in Carrigaline on Thursday 26th September. Some were returning friends and others were visiting for the first time. The group was led by Udo Ockel, Mayor of Kirchseeon.

While some guests stayed with host families, the majority stayed in the hotel and local guest houses.

Kirchseeon is a small town in Bavaria with a population of 10,500. It is located about 25kms south of Munich, which is the third largest city in Germany. The Twinning Charter between the two towns was signed in Carrigaline in 2015.

The region is steeped in tradition and folklore, an example being “The Perchten”. During the Christmas season, locals dress up as mythical creatures. Wearing fur costumes and huge hand carved wooden grotesque looking masks, they dance from house to house collecting money for charities; not unlike the straw boy tradition here in Ireland. They date back to pagan times.

We were very lucky to have a number of these Perchten travelling with the group, which is an honour for Carrigaline as they normally only perform in December and January. They treated us to performances outside Carrigaline Court Hotel and, spectacularly, at Fort Camden on Saturday.

Photo Siobhán Russell

The Twinning Association organised a full programme of events for the group, including a visit to Fort Camden, a Cork city tour, a trip to West Cork, a barbeque in Bunnyconnellan, a visit to the G.A.A club, a music session in the Stables, and the official dinner in the Bistro at the Carrigaline Court Hotel on Friday evening.

On Monday the group visited the Jameson Distillery in Midleton where they learned about old and modern whiskey making techniques, followed by the inevitable sampling of the produce, again with varying degrees of commitment!

During the visit to the GAA club, the group was given a talk on the history of Gaelic games and some attempted the Poc Fada with a hurley and sliotar, with varying degrees of expertise!

These visits are an amazing opportunity for local individuals and clubs to exchange ideas with their counterparts in Kirchseeon, and a number of contacts were made which will hopefully lead to exchange visits in the near future.

On Tuesday, with new friendships forged, and old ones rekindled, the group bade Auf Wiedersehen to Carrigaline having invited their Irish friends to visit Kirchseeon next year.

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